It brings a smile to my heart as I look at all that God has blessed my life with over the last two years. He has been so good to me. So often Joel 2:25 will play through my mind. “I will compensate you for the years the locusts have eaten.” Such a remarkable reminder that God restores to us what we have lost through the valleys, the struggles, the chastising.
Over the past couple of months I have been participating in a study on the book of Hosea. As my pastor’s wife has led us through this remarkable journey of God’s redeeming love I have been impacted greatly by its truth and relevance in my own life. I have witnessed and experienced the unmistakable beauty and amazement of the redeeming love of God and I am constantly overwhelmed by it. I once was broken and crushed too but not any longer.
So far one of the most significant teachings through this study came from the week we studied Hosea 5:1-6:3. My pastor’s wife shared Deuteronomy 32:39 with us which says,
“Look now; I myself am He! There is no other god but Me! I am the one who kills and gives life; I am the one who wounds and heals; no one can be rescued from my powerful hand!”
What a powerful verse. Especially the words, “I am the one who wounds and heals.” She explained that the Hebrew word for wound means to crush, smash, shatter or wound severely while the Hebrew word for heal means to make whole, to repair thoroughly. She summed it up by saying that God wanted to wound in order to heal. Wow! That is a lot in a few short words. Because you were not there to hear the entire teaching let me explain that we are discussing Israel's defiance of God. They have turned their back on Him and chosen to go their own way, do their own thing. It is such a relatable topic because every believer struggles with taking control of their life and wanting to do their own thing. Or at least I know I do. With that said, God allows us to take the road we choose, often the wrong road leaving us to suffer the consequences. When we choose that road, we find ourselves in deep water oftentimes drowning from the weight of our bad choices (sometimes because of the bad choices of others) and are severely wounded. God allows us to take those roads, face those consequences, enduring the discipline so that we can be made whole and find true healing in Him. He allows us to suffer so that we will find our way back to Him. Is that not remarkable? We can turn away, choose other things and yet He will go out of His way to grab our attention, confront us and draw us back into His arms! I am overwhelmed by His goodness yet again!
As we ended that lesson, my pastor’s wife said something that resonated so deeply within me because of the incredible truth. She said, “Eventually the pain gives way to rain that refreshes and makes fruitful.” That is me. I never thought the pain would end. I did not believe I would ever be “ok” again. The pain felt never ending. But it did. God allowed the wounds that cut so deep into my heart to break me into a million pieces in order for me to become so desperate for Him that I had to depend solely on Him to heal me completely. And He did. And not only did He heal me but He restored to me not just everything that had been taken through the pain but He gave me back even more. More love, more grace, more knowledge and understanding of who He is, a longing to be more like Him and more of Him to share with others.
Scripture tells us that God does not waste our pain because He wants us to share our journey with others so that others may discover His healing and redeeming love as well. As I have found healing it has become my greatest joy to share what He has done for me so that others will know His redeeming love!
“He (God) comforts us in our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.”
2 Corinthians 1:4